Family of murdered couple pleads with killer to reveal where body is

Peter and Sylvia Stuart. Photos / Suffolk Constabulary
Peter and Sylvia Stuart. Photos / Suffolk Constabulary

The family of a millionaire couple murdered for their money has pleaded for the killer to "find the moral courage to tell us where Mum is" after the fake asylum seeker was found guilty.

The body of Peter Stuart, 75, was found stabbed in shallow water in woodland near his home in Weybread, Suffolk, on June 3 last year, and his wife, Sylvia, 69, is missing presumed dead.

Friends of the Stuarts raised the alarm when the couple failed to attend their regular line dancing class on May 31.

A jury took about three hours to find 43-year-old Ali Qazimaj guilty of their murders after a month-long trial at Ipswich Crown Court today.

There were gasps of relief from the public gallery as the unanimous verdicts were read out.

The defendant continues to dispute his identity, claiming he is a man called Vital Dapi from Albania.

In a statement read outside court, the Stuart family said: "To the twisted individual who committed this wicked crime: we hope you spend the rest of your miserable existence reflecting on the utter senselessness and brutality of what you did to two innocent people, and that maybe one day you will find the moral courage to tell us where Mum is so that we may give her and our family some final peace."

Qazimaj claims he had never been to the UK before his arrest and extradition from Luxembourg. He was arrested in Luxembourg on June 16, and denied murder.

During his trial at Ipswich Crown Court, it emerged that he lied to claim asylum in the UK in 1999 by saying his name was Ali Qazimaj and he was fleeing persecution in his homeland of Kosovo.

But official records in Albania uncovered during his trial confirmed that his real name was Vital Dapi who was born in Albania, rather than the former Yugoslavia.

If he had used his true identity on arriving in the UK, he would have been unable to get asylum.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Guy, of Norfolk and Suffolk's Major Investigation Team, speaking outside court, said: "There were four key strands of evidence - the fingerprints, the DNA, the handwriting samples and the physical appearance.

"All in themselves are strong pieces of evidence and of course, put together, I think it's absolutely compelling.

"To try and argue from the witness box that you're not this man in the photograph when clearly you are is quite bizarre."

Karim Khalil QC, prosecuting, said Qazimaj had lived in Tilbury, Essex, and was a carer to the father-in-law of the Stuarts' daughter, Christy Paxman.

He said Qazimaj had gambling debts and believed the Stuarts to be millionaires. They were last seen alive on CCTV at Goodies Farm Shop in Pulham Market, Norfolk, on May 29.

A silver Citroen car was found by police in Dover and prosecutors said it had the defendant's fingerprints in it.

After the jury returned its verdicts, Judge Jeremy Stuart-Smith said: "I know you've not taken very long in absolute terms to reach your verdicts, but I don't find that at all surprising."

He said Qazimaj faced a mandatory life prison sentence.

Qazimaj will be sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court tomorrow.

- Daily Telegraph UK

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 29 Apr 2017 19:02:36 Processing Time: 540ms